The Institute for Emerging Philanthropists

Identifying and nurturing the community’s emerging philanthropic leaders is a key initiative of The Center for Family Philanthropy at Akron Community Foundation.

To help the families we work with most effectively pass their charitable legacies on to future generations, in 2019 we founded the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists, an exclusive educational program designed to support, inspire and cultivate this developing group of donors.

Through the institute, participants are exposed to the critical needs of the community and taught innovative, evidence-based methods of practicing strategic philanthropy, while connecting with a network of highly motivated charitable professionals. This structured six-month program helps participants identify their personal philanthropic goals and develop plans for a lifelong commitment to improve our community.

Course Content

Course content includes lectures, site visits and workshops focusing on:

  • Building a philanthropic plan
  • Nonprofit roles and theories of change
  • Local and national philanthropy
  • Professional advisor collaboration
  • Strategic grantmaking
  • Evaluating nonprofits – financially and beyond

Students of the institute are required to make a fully tax-deductible gift of $2,500 for grantmaking. Akron Community Foundation is proud to match this gift, which will allow each student to make a $5,000 grant to the cause of their choice, reflecting the individual values and personal philanthropic goals they’ve discovered during their training. Collectively, each class distributes nearly $100,000 in grants back into our community.

The program culminates in a graduation ceremony where students share their experiences and announce the organization they’ve chosen to receive their individual grant.

Candidate Criteria

The Institute for Emerging Philanthropists is suited for individuals between the ages of 25-45 who have a strong desire to build their skills in strategic philanthropy. Ideally, candidates are already involved in significant giving through charitable entities such as private family foundations or donor-advised funds.

Prospective students of the institute will go through a simple selection process, including an interview with a staff member of The Center for Family Philanthropy to evaluate their interests and goals. Class sizes will be limited to no more than 20 students.

For more information about joining the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists, contact Karen A. Hrdlicka, director of The Center for Family Philanthropy, at or 330-436-5640.

Emerging Philanthropist Alumni Network


Upon completion of the program, graduates of the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists are invited to join the Emerging Philanthropist Alumni Network for continued education and networking opportunities. The alumni network is offered to Institute for Emerging Philanthropists graduates who make an annual donation to an Akron Community Foundation fund.

Karen A. Hrdlicka
Karen A. Hrdlicka Director, The Center for Family Philanthropy
Call me at 330-436-5640 or email me
Interested in Uniting Your Family Through Philanthropy?

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